Year Of Release: 2015

Publishers: Ubisoft

Developers: Ubisoft Montreal

Genre: Tactical Shooter

Age Rating: 18 (UK)

Siege

Back in 2015 Ubisoft had already earned themselves a reputation as a production line, a production line that formulaically pumped out half-baked sequels that were about as forgettable 70% of the titles on the Nintendo Wii.  Furthermore, the occasional new title that they put out would be so lacking in substance that a small wedgie from a Witcher 3 DLC, would have sent the new title running back into the DLC production house from which it escaped. So, when Ubisoft released ‘Rainbow Six Siege’, the latest game in the ‘Tom Clancy’ series, to widespread indifference, as opposed to mild hatred, there was cause for celebration in the head offices.

Ubisoft employee celebrates
A Ubisoft employee celebrates c.2015

At release the game was praised for its destructible environments and focus on teamwork, however critics agreed that £50 was rather expensive for a game that, at release, had less content than a new-born’s autobiography, something that Ubisoft claimed that they would be working on improving in the future. It has now been just over two years since the release of ‘Rainbow Six Siege’ and, with a player base that currently sits at just over 25 million, I am glad to say that Ubisoft have actually delivered on their promise and improved upon their creation.

 

My Experience

I have to admit first off that I have been playing this game religiously for just over a year now and have generously donated around two hundred hours of my life and my left kidney to ‘Rainbow Six Siege’, something that is sure to clue you in to the fact that I really enjoy this game. It wasn’t always this way however as my relationship with the game had quite the rocky start which was mainly due to the fact that ‘Siege’ has an initial learning curve so steep that would put K2 to shame. Such a difficult entry into a game can be taxing enough on a new player, before factoring in the ability to team kill and an elitist player base in casual mode that is saltier than the dead sea.

New player difficulties
A detailed image depicting a player attempting to mount Siege’s difficulty spike

 

The culmination of all of this results in what was (for me at least) one of the roughest entries into a gaming community that I have ever experienced, as I found it very difficult to ‘git gud’ when in my early games I would be team killed at least once per match by teammates who were disgusted by my unskilled presence. My troubles however subsided the further I progressed into the game and as I improved my playstyle I could honestly see why it was people grew angry at the less experienced players. This is because, in a game that relies so heavily on map knowledge, teamwork, skill and reflexes to match those of a squirrel on a caffeine high, a new player is about as useful to the team as a teabag is to a coffee strainer! Not that this means they shouldn’t get a chance to become useful!

Review

One of the main pitfalls that the gameplay of ‘Rainbow Six Siege’ suffers from is repetition as the game hasn’t changed much since its initial conception. After two years in existence, the game still only boasts the same three game modes that it had at release (Bomb, Hostage and Secure the Area). To add to this lack of variety, I found that (in my experience at least) unless you specifically change your in game preferences, you more than likely will be stuck playing round after round of Bomb.

Rainbow Six Siege's Variety
An accurate bar chart made in Excel and not PowerPoint that shows the variety of Siege’s game mode playlist.

Normally if a title was released to today’s audience with such a lack of content, the games future would be killed before the end of its E3 press conference. However, Siege’s tense and fast-paced gameplay saves it from the bare-faced pit of monotony that many of today’s triple A shooters use as a retirement home for the end of their 5 month lifespan. Even after sinking the best part of two weeks of my life into this game, each match still feels fresh as they are never the same. The inability to respawn in the same round and the instant kill headshot mechanic also provide a sense of challenge that few other games of this genre can replicate.

The Challenge

The headshot mechanic is a huge factor on how you can play the game, knowing that your head is so vulnerable that a stray ping pong ball could take you out really changes up the gameplay. This means that unlike in other games such as COD and Battlefield, in which you might as well have ‘free bullet storage’ written on your forehead you have to be strategic in the way you go about achieving your objective.

I have found that there are many ways in which you can play Siege with relative success, however none of them include the ‘run and gun’ technique. This is because the second you enter a room, using this method of play, your operator will immediately demonstrate their best impersonation of human shaped Swiss cheese. Saying that though, the ‘run and gun’ technique can work for the operator  ‘Ash’ as she has the speed and hitbox of a light particle.

Ash is super quick
A deleted scene in Star Wars that shows Ash dangerously undertaking the Millenium Falcon.
The Detail

What truly sets ‘Siege’ apart from its competitors though is the amount of effort and detail that the designers put into every aspect of the game. The point that this is most obvious at is in the map design, so much thought and has been put into the schematics of each level. Every staircase, wall and hatch has a reason for its positioning, and in this case, that reason is to keep the experience evenly balanced for both the attacking and defensive teams – this being something that Ubisoft have focused on intently throughout this game’s development.

The characters (operators) within ‘Siege’ also bring a unique feel to the game as rather than having a class based system the game currently boasts 36 individual operators that all bring something different to the table. These operators all have their own pros and cons and each have their own distinctive abilities that are, to some extent, grounded in realism and as they add more operators every season, its just another reason to keep coming back to this game.

Quick Conclusion

Overall I feel that Siege is a challenging yet fun experience that can pose a threat to new players who are expecting the standard FPS gameplay. However after getting the hang of it and developing your own playstyle, you will find that its lightning fast action and claustrophobic maps make for a thrilling – albeit sometimes rage inducing- affair.

 

The Future

Ubisoft have stuck to their word and have been continuously improving upon their game since day one. This was only fully realised however in Year 2 Season 2 when Ubisoft announced ‘Operation Health’, a season long update that was to fix many of the bugs and server issues that up until then had been untouched. This move went over as well with fans as eating the last rice pudding would go in an old people’s home, as players were unimpressed with the fact that the developers hadn’t been working on these issues in the background. This also meant that players had to wait six months for any new maps or operators, a fact that was compounded when the developers overran their stated time by nearly two weeks!

Server Issues
A screenshot from the year 2016AD showing early Rainbow Six Siege gameplay.

Seemingly as penance for their many sins, Ubisoft showered players with free items at the end of ‘Operation Health’, with an accompanying statement that essentially said “Sorry for taking too long, we’ve had it rough too you know!” Unlike a lot of the fan base however I fully understand that in order to fix something you sometimes need to step back and take a look at the glaring latency issues. Yes, they should have done a lot more a lot sooner but at least they’re doing something to improve their creation, unlike many publishers nowadays who put their unfinished creation on the edge of a cliff and tell it not to fall as they turn their back to go about making the DLCs!

Advice For Developers

Should the development team carry on with their current future visions I honestly can’t see Siege failing anytime soon, what with it lasting into its third year with more success than it had at release. This being more than I can say for any other shooter that has come out in the last 5 years. If I had to say anything to Ubisoft to help the game’s continuing success, it would be to stop using free items as a means of apology for everything, as free items tainted by the scent of upcoming loot boxes doesn’t quite hold the same appeal as no loot boxes at all.

 

 

For more info on Siege’s upcoming season click here

For more info on the above mentioned loot boxes click here

And for more info on what Ubisoft are doing to appease angry fans click here

 

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